Having Lost Faith In My Efforts

That noble and divine timidity which guards the soul’s treasures and regalia.

But a man who knows how to say what he says must sometimes make a transitive
verb intransitive so as to photograph what he feels instead of seeing it in the dark
like the common lot of human animals.

Or perhaps not.

In the commonplace clutter of my literary drawers I
sometimes find things I wrote ten or fifteen years ago
or longer,

and many of them seem to be written by
a stranger; I can’t recognize the voice as my own.

Why should I care what it is for others? Other
people’s lives are of use to me only in my dreams
where I live the life that seems to suit each one.

Only once was I truly loved.

To create,
I’ve destroyed myself.


for a moment I was someone else: in someone else I saw
and lived this human and humble joy of existing as an animal in shirtsleeves.

As soon as I start talking about images,
even if it’s to say they should be used sparingly,

images are born in me; as soon as I
stand up from myself to repudiate something I don’t feel
I start feeling that very thing,

and even my repudiation becomes a feeling trimmed with embroidery;
as soon as I want to abandon myself to the wind
having lost faith in my efforts,
a placid phrase or a sober,
concrete adjective suddenly,
like sunlight,
makes me clearly see the dormantly written page before me,
and the letters drawn in my ink are an absurd map of magic signs.

The steps of the now more numerous pedestrians are less hurried.

Above where I’m standing there are black branches of trees,
and all of the city’s sleepiness fills my disenchanted heart.

—Carlos Otto, SAUDOSISMO, A Treatise